The Lost Voices of Maud Karpeles Folksongs from Newfoundland
Karpeles findings were disseminated in stages. In October of 1929, she lectured on her first expedition to a large gathering of academics and invited guests at Newfoundlands Memorial University College, during which Emerson sang several of the songs and accompanied himself on the piano with arrangements he had created for the occasion. Five years later, thirty of the songs were arranged for voice and piano by Ralph Vaughan Williams and his associates Clive Carey, Hubert J. Foss, and Michael Mullinar, and published by Oxford University Press. It was not until 1971, however, that a more comprehensive collection of Karpeles work in Newfoundland was published by Faber and Faber of London, containing close to one hundred songs and ballads (many of which appear in multiple musical variants).
Remarkably, more than forty of the tunes Karpeles notated during her Newfoundland expeditions (alternative renditions of ballads and songs in the published collections and other titles that were excluded entirely) remain unpublished. This paper, a first step toward a new edition of Karpeles unpublished Newfoundland song material, seeks to rediscover these lost voices by exploring selected songs from Karpeles unpublished Newfoundland song transcriptions based on manuscripts housed in the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive. The paper will examine factors that informed Karpeles selective process and, at the same time, demonstrate that the unpublished songs (and the singers who sang them) merit the same recognition accorded the iconic songs from the published collections. The presentation will include the performance of selected songs for illustrative purposes.
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